Never-ending to-do lists, a bottomless email inbox, appraisals, meetings, networking events – the modern workplace is a relentless buzz of activity and if we’re not careful an absolute black hole for productivity.
How can this be? If you’re doing so much in the 9-5 (and beyond) how can you not be productive? You’re getting stuff done right?
Like so many millennials you may be working hard but not necessarily working smart. There are hundreds of self-help books, websites, guides and downloads that offer valuable advice but if we try to take all the help onboard we risk drowning in a sea of good intentions and unsustainable habits. The one trick I use to be more productive at work is so simple it’s scary:
It’s incredibly simple but also deeply philosophical but you have to learn what works for you in order to stay productive at work. For some of us setting up notifications and reminders on our phone is the only way to make sure no tasks fall off the radar. For others, productivity can be bolstered with regular breaks, journaling or even naps. Knowing how you work best is the key to staying productive, working smart and getting ‘it’ done.
Here are two questions to help you start uncovering the most productive you yet:
1. When do you work ‘best’?
We all know and love that feeling of being on your game, in the zone, on fire etc. Next time you find yourself smashing your day pause a second and make a note of the factors that led you to this moment. What time of day is it? What environment are you in? Are you alone or in a shared space? Music or no music? Take the time to recreate this experience and see if the resulting productivity boost is the same. If you strike gold again identify what it is about this scenario that works for you and use it to your advantage!
Take the time to recreate this experience and see if the resulting productivity boost is the same. If you strike gold again identify what it is about this scenario that works for you and use it to your advantage!
2. What keeps you grounded?
Regular breaks are essential for staying productive as driving forward all the time increases fatigue, stifles creativity and puts you at risk of burnout. Identify ways that you can ground yourself throughout your day and you’ll not only recharge your batteries and bolster productivity physically but you’ll keep your mind open to the bigger picture and new opportunities too.
Start with five deep breaths or a walk around a green space next time you feel the pressure building and reconnect with yourself. Keep your values and intentions visible in your agenda too and you’ll find yourself gravitating towards the tasks that really matter, and you’ll be a productivity goddess before you know it!
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